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Thursday, May 8, 2001

Emmis boss cries foul over Mancow's fine By: Bob Feder's, Sun Times

Claiming they have no record of what he said on the air, Mancow Muller's bosses are fighting his indecency rap by the Federal Communications Commission on a technicality.

In a five-page response Monday to the FCC, Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications Corp. argued that the $14,000 fine against the WKQX-FM (101.1) morning shock jock should be canceled because it is based on "an inadequate factual record."

Without tapes or exact transcripts of the shows in question, the FCC lacks "objective evidence of what was actually broadcast," wrote Doyle Rose, president of the company's radio division.

Muller was cited last month for "willfully and repeatedly broadcasting indecent language" on two editions of "Mancow's Morning Madhouse." The FCC defines indecency as "patently offensive" material that describes sexual or excretory organs or activities.

The first segment, which aired on March 20, 2000, involved a telephone conversation with a porn actress. The second, which aired on May 15, 2000, involved three women discussing their sexual practices.

The FCC based its action on complaints against Muller's show filed by Citizens for Community Values. The Chicago-based group has filed more than 30 complaints against the program since 1999.

When the FCC first contacted Emmis about the two specific broadcasts on Q-101, the company said it had "no tape or transcript of the broadcasts at issue." The FCC rarely if ever takes the word of a listener on an indecency claim without a tape or transcript.

Otherwise, Rose wrote to the FCC, "broadcasters will be at the mercy of complainants who lace their complaints with buzzwords and affect a sufficient degree of outrage.

"The commission in this case effectively shifted the burden of proof to Emmis to establish the absence of a violation," he wrote.

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